As Capital Region leaders in the digital marketing industry, we wanted to educate our clients and other local business owners on the latest scam circulating the internet. People are rating restaurants around the U.S. with a 1-star review on Google and emailing them stating they will remove the review if they send them a gift card.  

Google is aware of this current scam and has stated that their team is working diligently to remove fraudulent reviews as they clearly violate Google’s policies. Google’s policies state that all reviews must be based on a real-life experience that a customer has had with a business. These reviews are clearly not based on true events and are being monitored and removed as quickly as possible. 

Whether you are a small business owner, or have a larger national brand, reputation and positive reviews are crucial. If you have experienced this new 1-star review scam, there are a few actions you should take right away to maintain your brand’s image.  

First, do not respond to the email asking you for the gift card or send the gift card for any reason. Some stories that people write to you may seem sentimental or persuasive, but it is important not to give them any information or payment.  

Next, respond to the review. In your response make sure to acknowledge that it is a fake review that is not based on true events. This way when other people searching for your business are not deterred by a negative review and realize it is not an actual representation of your company.  

Finally, you should immediately flag the review or reach out to Google support to let them know you would like it reviews and removed. If your Google My Business account is not yet claimed, this should be done first so Google knows the flag is coming from the owner of the company. This will give you additional access to edit, manage, and optimize your listing as well. 

If you have any other questions on the Google 1-star review scam or if you need help reporting fraudulent reviews, we can help. Email the Capital District Digital team at info@